Picture this. You're in an elevator with another stranger or two for more than five minutes. You're standing somewhere by yourself waiting for a ride or person who is taking forever. You're sitting in a doctor's office waiting room or lobby with other bored people, waiting and waiting, and people are staring at you. You see that weird person whom you always try to avoid heading your way, and you need a way to not make eye contact without it being totally obvious that you're being a jerk. How 'bout when you're eating lunch in your car, then some people pass by and look at you, making you feel like a friendless loser. You're somewhere like the DPS waiting in a long line of doom with a crowd of annoying people, and there are at least seven people you have punched in the face in your mind. Or what about when you're at a luncheon or dinner function where you hardly know anyone and need something to do to not look like a moron sitting by yourself without someone to talk to. Then there's that break during class when people disperse for ten minutes, and you many not know anyone but others are in cliques.
Countless unexpected scenarios could land you in an awkward moment. When that moment hits you, what is the first thing you do? I bet I know. You bust out that cell phone and fondle it to alleviate the awkward moment! I bet your lover doesn't get as much touchy touchy as your cell phone sometimes.
It doesn't even matter if you have someone to text, update your Fb status, send out a tweet ... the sole purpose of that phone during awkward moments of your life is to save you from looking or feeling stupid just standing around. So here's my question of the day. What if you forgot your phone at home, and you're in that awkward moment? What do you do as an alternative to playing with your phone? Think of it this way. What did you do back in the day, before the days of cell phone stupor, when you felt seriously awkward and needed a go-to object or distraction to ease your anxiety?
Well, I've come up with a list of escapes for you to combat awkward moments when you don't have your phone to save you.
The search and rescue mission
This is where you pretend to look for some mystery object in your purse (or wallet, bag, etc.). It could be a purple elephant or a grand piano you're looking for in there. The point is, you'll never find it, but keep searching until your awkwardness has subsided. If you do find such a thing in there, then you may want to lay off the recreational drugs.
Read between the lines
Depending on what you have handy, read something. If you have a book, awesome. If not, study a receipt like you've never seen such a fascinating thing in your life. Read that piece of scrap paper where you wrote down your grocery list, bucket list, hit list, whatever.
Cough it up
Just start coughing and clearing your throat periodically until the awkward moment passes. Don't overdo it, just enough to break the silence.
Use the cliche of weather or sports comments, if you must. This would only work if you're a talker, though. I've seen people do things like blurt out totally fake compliments just to break the ice like "Hey, I like your shoes!" And said shoes were hideous and old, which was proof to me it was just shit talk to bypass the cone of awkward silence.
If you ask the questions, then you're forcing others to have to talk, taking the pressure off yourself. "So, did anyone see that news report last night about the (bla bla bla)?" Or, you can pretend like you're lost and ask them if they know where the restroom is and escape there, if the shoe fits.
Adjust the threads
Tie your shoes. Even if they don't need tying, this would be a great moment for you to make sure they are tied even better than they were tied before. Fidget with your accessories. Take off those earrings and put them back on the right way. Pretend like you're dusting something off your clothes. Re-fold those already-folded sleeves. There's nothing like an awkward moment to make you realize you didn't do these things right the first time.
Looking busy is the key
This would be the perfect moment to take out your keys and rearrange them on the rings. Or just play with them since they get neglected so much due to your obsessive phone fondling.
Guzzle those worries away
Most people tend to carry a bottle of water or a drink of some kind around with them. I know I do. Battle weirdness by taking constant sips. This is a saving grace at that awkward dinner party when you don't know wtf to do with yourself at the table and have no phone or a dead phone.
Clean yourself up
If you wear glasses, get to wiping, four eyes! They can never be too clean. Get out that hand sanitizer and wipe away those germs. Got lotion? Lather up!
That ancient practice of writing with a pen and paper could be of use during awkward moments. Doesn't matter what you write, just scribble on something. Write a poem about how awkward you're feeling.
Reach out and don't touch someone
If you only have a few moments to look busy, give your arms a good stretching. Yank on those fingers and pop some joints.
Stuff your face hole
You're bound to have gum or some type of snack in your bag. Find a vending machine and buy something to munch the time away.
Don't hate, fixate
Find a nearby sign or billboard and stare at it like you're watching Saturday Night Live.
Eyes to the pavement
It would be nice if there was a nice rock to kick around. A nice little game of rock soccer makes for a great awkward moment fix. Being indoors would invalidate this option, but you could still stare at a tile pattern or try to count how many stains you see in the carpet.
I like to reach a diversity of readers, so if none of the above seem logical to you, then you might find one of the following a more suitable solution.
Who needs music
Just pretend you have your iPod and dance in place; bop your head to the imaginary rhythm of your insanity.
Make your own music
Hum or whistle your woes away.
Think inside the box
Pretend to be a mime. You never know who could be watching, and this could be your big break. You could also just get your ass kicked, but hey, that would pass the time, too.
Narcolepsy has benefits
You could always just pretend to be sound asleep. But, I highly recommend leaving one eye open. You wouldn't want to get robbed during your fake nap.
Bite your nails and save your manicurist and nail clipper the trouble. Be sure to spit the nail chips at people around you.
Don't hate, urinate
Go stand up against a wall and pretend you're peeing. You can't get in trouble since you're not really peeing.
If you have a hoola hoop handy, go ahead and work that waist round and round. Roll it around your neck, if you dare.
And if none of these solutions help you, then just stand there and look awkward. Nothing wrong with that!